When deciding on buying certain pedigree dogs, such as Dobermans, Jack Russell’s and Miniature Schnauzers for example, it’s important to remember that those clipped tails and ears are usually not natural.
There is a misconception in a large portion of American adults – 42% in one study – that the stumpy tails or the pointy ears which characterize certain thoroughbred dogs, occur naturally.
That’s not the case, and the primary reason is cosmetic: before going to their long-term homes, many puppies undergo ear cropping and tail docking procedures.
The ear docking usually happens sometime between the ages of 6 to 12 weeks. The floppy part of the ear literally gets cut off and is then taped to a hard surface for a few weeks in order to remain upright. The process is performed under anesthesia.
The tail snipping is done surgically with a pair of scissors at 2 to 5 days old. Other breeders use a rubber band to cut off the air supply so that the tail will fall off ‘on its own’.
Many people who purchase such dogs are either unaware about that bit of their new puppy’s history, or, they conveniently choose not to think about it.
“People disconnect themselves from things if they find it uncomfortable.” said Katelyn Mills, author of the previously mentioned study, “they don’t want to know about it.”
But perhaps it is something you should carefully consider if you decide to buy one of the relevant dog breeds.
Is it really necessary?
If you Google ‘tail docking’, the following message pops up:
The reason most people want their puppies’ tails docked, is because they are used to seeing these dogs with short tails.
Apart from the pain and discomfort, even if anesthesia is used, there’s the possibility of infections and long term chronic pain.
And of course there is the social factor. Dogs use their tails to communicate, to show friendliness, submission, to issue warnings. Without tails, they can be severely socially inhibited. Tails also help with balance.
Some dog behavioral specialists believe that this often causes docked dogs to be more aggressive.
Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and Yorkshire Terriers are some of the other dogs which are often docked – there’s more than 60 breeds which are recognized as commonly docked canines by the American Kennel club.
Do your research when buying a thoroughbred
Its important to do your research though and also to note that some short-tailed breeds are naturally occurring.
In Australia and in many European countries, ear and tail docking is banned. In the United States, there are conflicting views on the matter. The American Kennel Club state that the procedures are “integral to defining and preserving breed character.”
But the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) disagree. The CVMA previously stated that docking practices are “not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient,” and “these procedures cause pain and distress, and, as with all surgical procedures, are accompanied by inherent risks of anesthesia, blood loss, and infection.”
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